French puts in a starring Performance

It was a closely fought competition, but the Advanced Intermediate Class at the Great Witchingham Horse Trials was eventually won by Norfolk's Piggy French, who snatched victory on one of the ten horses she was competing over the weekend.

It was a closely fought competition, but the Advanced Intermediate Class at the Great Witchingham Horse Trials was eventually won by Norfolk's Piggy French, who snatched victory on one of the ten horses she was competing over the weekend.

The 14-year-old bay gelding What A Performance, owned by Sir William and Lady Aldous, was third after the dressage, but then had a pole down in the show jumping.

This did not faze them as they went on to do a fabulous clear on the tough cross-country course to secure pole position and win, for the first time, the Melford Bell Cup, kindly donated by Theresa Swift after losing her eventing mare.

Pippa Funnell, riding Blue Horizon, locally owned by Janet McEntire, as usual did an excellent dressage test to initially take the lead, but two poles down and eight faults in the show jumping put her down to third.


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Anna Hilton and Mr Dalby took second after putting in faultless performances in both the Show Jumping and XC.

The trials saw more than 700 competitors descending on Blackwater Farm.

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Organiser David Sayer said: "The ground was excellent, making the going super, especially on Friday, with competitors coming from far and wide.

"A high percentage left their horses on site in the excellent new portable stables."

Matthew Wright had a busy weekend. Like French, he was competing ten horses, all of which he managed to get placed, including a win in the Open Intermediate on Fox on the Run and then third on Singalong and fourth on Well Spotted.

French, riding San Calidohad, led after the dressage in this section only to claim some XC time faults to drop down to second.

In the Intermediate section, Chloe Newton from Leicestershire secured a win with 'General Greenfont' and then a second with 'Eva Peron' something that had never been done before at Witchingham.

Tom Crisp on Liberal, from Suffolk, picked up a few time faults but managed fourth. Other local riders to shine were Caroline Casburn - who used to be part of the British Team - from Saxthorpe on her new horse Taurus O'Sullivan. She had an excellent round to secure eighth place in the Novice section.

In the Pre-Novice Section, Lee Wright from Somerleyton Hall riding Inspector Frost took first place and Kelly Aldous and Breaston Betty Boo rode clear to gain sixth.

After two dreadful days of drizzling rain, the sun shone all day on Sunday and this time the going was excellent.

The Intro and Pre-Novice Classes on Sunday saw plenty of local riders in action. A win in convincing style for Joanne Masterson from Norfolk on her lovely seven-year-old mare Fairy Story, owned by Deirdre Hunt, in the Intro section and a respectable fourth on Wanessa in Section R.

Diana Grant from Suffolk, riding Spike The Tyke, was just beaten to second place from Tom How and Cadenza Gardian Angel, while Amy Martin from Norfolk was placed third on Highland River of Gunton Park in the Open Pre-Novice section U.

Sussex Farm, Burnham Market hosts the next British Eventing Horse Trials from next Thursday to Saturday.

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